How to Make a MakerspaceMay 18, 2017
There's no easy way to say it: Students today are over-tested, overworked and underestimated. In the last few years, I have come to look at my students not as vessels to fill with knowledge, but as inquisitive, philosophical scholars who seek to wonder about the world of tomorrow. How can I capitalize on the endless possibilities of my students' greatness while also promoting divergent thinking, helping others, and creativity? One day I found the answer: Makerspace, a place where students are set free to build, tinker, invent and create using both real and virtual materials.
When I started researching the concept of Makerspace, I found Makerspace For Education. The premise for a Makerspace is simple: Set some ground rules, provide materials that students can adapt, and stand back. That's what I'm doing with the gifted-and-talented class I'll be teaching next year. In our Makerspace, students will build something original that can be helpful to others or improve upon something already established. Makerspace for Education has terrific guidance for how to set up and equip a Makerspace. I particularly like the "Makey Makey," an electronic invention kit.
At this point you may be thinking, "With everything I have to do, there is no way I can have a Makerspace." Yes, you can. Start small with a table or cart loaded with supplies like toilet paper rolls, yarn, magnets, etc. Let students use the space as an early finisher or enrichment activity. Providing opportunities for our students to invent and create is what we, as teachers, should strive toward.
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